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Old 06-09-2004, 01:39 PM   #1
oldi
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Slackware and FreeBSD?!!


Recently have heard about FreeBSD and wanted to ask everyone what they think about it. I know the historical background about it and that Slackware is constructed in a very similiar way to FreeBSD.

Really wanted some comparasion and evalution. Is it worth giving a try? How does it compare with Slackware in terms of security, speed, stability and packages?!!

What are are the strength and the weakneess of each system?

Any comments about it will be appriciated.

thanks
 
Old 06-09-2004, 01:49 PM   #2
Nis
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That's a lot to ask but I can give you some info:

FreeBSD (and other BSDs: NetBSD, OpenBSD) are cousins to Linux. BSD was developed around the same time also as an alternative to UNIX. BSD and Linux are seperate kernels, however. Apple's OSX is a derivative of BSD. The whole thing with Linux and SCO cannot affect any BSD systems as AT&T lost a very important legal case over BSD years ago which puts BSD under legal protection from anyone trying to own it.

Slackware is Linux, of course. What it shares with BSD is the init script system. All init scripts are placed in /etc/rc.d in Slackware and BSD. Compare this to Fedora, SUSE, Mandrake: they use the SystemV init script system (lots of sub-directories).

Now as for everything else I am unable to answer; I have not used BSD. I do know that many commercial games that have been ported to Linux (UT200X, Neverwinter Nights, id stuff) will not work on Linux, and WineX support for Games on BSD is sketchy. If you don't plan on any gaming, however, this is of no importance.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 02:24 PM   #3
auditek747
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Freebsd 4.x is the stable release. (I think 4.10 at the moment)
It's very very nice.
The only issue I've found with it is not taking 32bit cardbus pcmcia cards.

5.x is the developemental release. It's very nice as well and takes 32bit cardbus.

4.10 is actually the newer of the two. If you don't have pcmcia issues I highly
recommend it.

Permissions are more strict by default than Linux, so you'll have to work with that.

Freebsd has a "ports" system for installing and upgrading software. (I guess similar
to swaret) It's really sweet.

If you use KDE, DO NOT ever use the kuser utility. It has an ongoing Freebsd problem
of expiring your users. (even root!)

Their online docs are exellent.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 03:13 PM   #4
gargamel
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In addition to what has been said:

The BSD people split up at one certain point in time. There are now three derivatives.

FreeBSD is the most popular one. It has an excellent reputation as a webserver platform.

NetBSD is the most widely ported system alive. It runs on even more platform than Linux, but not (yet) on IBM mainframes. It was designed to be portable and small, and isn't in fact demanding big iron in order to run fast and reliable.

OpenBSD is dedicated to security. It doesn't support fancy hardware that well and is useless on multi-CPU systems, but that is being worked on. The project has developed a number of mechanisms to protect operating systems against attacks, the principles of which are being adapted to other systems like Linux.

Just to confuse you: Noone would say that OpenBSD is unstable as a web server, or the NetBSD wouldn't be secure. The projects have different focus and different kernels, but they do, of course, incorporate the best developments of their cousins.

Hardware support is generally not as good as in Linux, and there's not quite as much software available for BSDs. This is mainly true for commercial software packages, like some database systems. Open Source software is generally not that much of a problem: Just compile and build it yourself. But new technologies like ADSL and ISDN are usually supported in Linux much quicker than in BSD systems.

Now, if the BSDs are so good, why is Linux so much more popular?

I don't know for sure, but I think that the following points may have played a role:
- A long time ago there was a lawsuit between AT&T and the BSD owners (University of California, Berkeley). Developers interested in contributing to some Unix like OS may have preferred Linux at that time, as it wasn't affected by that lawsuit.
- The GNU license forces people to give something back to the community while the BSD license does not. As a result Linux just evolved a bit faster.
- Project organisation: The BSD developers are a more or less closed group (but it's, of course, open source). It may look a bit more difficult to become a BSD developer than a Linux contributor. The result: The Linux kernel has more features, but is in some parts possibly not quite as mature. BSD kernels are more conservative, less modern, but rock-solid. (Well, I never had a stability issue with Linux...).
- The personality of Linus Torvalds, who just was able to attract developers.

There are one or two technical reasons, either: Firewalls and routers can, to my knowledge, be easier built with Linux than with BSD. AFAIK this has to do with Kernel features. And there are much more tools available for Linux to assist you in your daily admin work. However, if you prefer to use shell scripting in favour of ready-made tools, then there's no problem for you.

My favourites are SuSE and Slackware Linux, but NetBSD/OpenBSD would also be right for me from a technical point of view. What makes the difference (for me), is the GNU GPL: I just favour the idea that you should give something back for what you get.

Hope that helps.

gargamel
 
Old 06-09-2004, 04:53 PM   #5
ringwraith
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I run FreeBSD along with Slackware. FreeBSD is very stable . FreeBSD is almost all hand configured. They have a handbook that explains everything so that helps. Since it is not cutting edge, it is even further behind the curve than linux is as far as app development. The file structure is a bit different so it takes awhile to find things. The ports and packages collections are really great. You can download and install binaries very similar to Debian. Or you can enter the folder for that port and have it download, complile (with your compiler specs) and install a la gentoo. Recompiling your kernel is alot easier in FreeBSD. You just hand edit the makefile. Then issue a few commands. I think you should only try it if you are pretty familiar with linux. You are not someone that needs to have their hand held. You are able to read and understand. You do not have to have the latest and greatest but are happy with very stable. OpenBSD is even a tougher nut to install IMO. The permissions and stuff are really tight once installed, but only one remote exploit in 9 million years J/k . Never tried NetBSD.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 05:20 PM   #6
-X-
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I use FreeBSD and Slackware. FB strengths are the ports/packages system, very-very good documentation, very good server, and Linux compatibility. While most everyone may say it makes a wonderful desktop, it does, but you will put in a lot more time getting java, Flash, and such to get working. Yeah, know it can be done, but not near as easy as Linux guys are use to. To me, the FreeBSD firewall and kernel config is easier and make more sense.

Since you're interested, go ahead send them some support and get it. Get "The Complete FreeBSD" 4th edition and get to know it. You'll be glad you did even if you stay with Linux. It is a very good OS.

oh yeah, pay attention to the kuse thing above. You can fix the screw up through single user mode, but it is a pita.

See;
freebsdportal.com
freebsdforums.org

-edit-
cleared up: FreeBSD "firewall and kernel"

Last edited by -X-; 06-09-2004 at 05:43 PM.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 05:40 PM   #7
chort
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It seems this discussion would be more appropriate in the BSD forum.

By the way, to disspell a misconception, FreeBSD is "cutting edge". It has two development trees, much like the Linux 2.4 and 2.6 kernel branches (although with all BSDs, they develop a full operating system, not just a kernel). FreeBSD 5.x is the current development branch, 4.x is the stable branch.

Oh, the other assertion that it's more difficult to setup a firewall on BSD than Linux is absurd. All of the packet filters available for BSD use natural language rules (things like "pass in on fxp0 from any to (fxp0) port http flags S/SA keep state"). This is in stark contrast to Linux where you need to specify bizzare command line flag syntax.

Last edited by chort; 06-09-2004 at 05:42 PM.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 06:08 PM   #8
Nichole_knc
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Someone said here " there's not quite as much software available for BSDs."
You maust not have ever used BSD. The port collection is several THOUSAND programs strong PLUS added Linux support for Linux software and rpms = Lots more software availability than most any OS Windors excluded.
If it is available commerically then more that likely there is a BSD or Linux equv.
I have used OpenBSD on Amiga in the late 80's and have always had a BSD box. I have never found myself lacking any software for it..
Yes you may have to do a build but the same holds true to linux and it is sometimes better to build locally than it is to install a "canned" install. Especially true if you can hack your own tweaks into the code for custom wares.

As for BSD I like doing custom kernel builds much better on BSD than Linux. The straight forward text editting is so much better. The dmesg list of a machine can be easily matched to the kernel src and lint file for easy editing something I miss on linux. Though I have built many kernels for my node under linux I still miss devices at times (network cards).
I do like Slack as it is very close to BSD in both setup and usability. But BSD is and will remain a active part of my PVM. It is the extreme right monitor in my 'horseshoe' (PVM displays left to right, XP pro, Slack9.1, Slack9.1+, BSD w one keyboard and a mouse) currently 6 processors strong and growing.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 06:52 PM   #9
gargamel
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nichole_knc
Someone said here " there's not quite as much software available for BSDs."
You maust not have ever used BSD. The port collection is several THOUSAND programs strong PLUS added Linux support for Linux software and rpms = Lots more software availability than most any OS Windors excluded.
If it is available commerically then more that likely there is a BSD or Linux equv.
I have used OpenBSD on Amiga in the late 80's and have always had a BSD box. I have never found myself lacking any software for it..
Yes you may have to do a build but the same holds true to linux and it is sometimes better to build locally than it is to install a "canned" install. Especially true if you can hack your own tweaks into the code for custom wares.

As for BSD I like doing custom kernel builds much better on BSD than Linux. The straight forward text editting is so much better. The dmesg list of a machine can be easily matched to the kernel src and lint file for easy editing something I miss on linux. Though I have built many kernels for my node under linux I still miss devices at times (network cards).
I do like Slack as it is very close to BSD in both setup and usability. But BSD is and will remain a active part of my PVM. It is the extreme right monitor in my 'horseshoe' (PVM displays left to right, XP pro, Slack9.1, Slack9.1+, BSD w one keyboard and a mouse) currently 6 processors strong and growing.

I support your arguments. When I said that there is less software for the BSDs I only meant ready-made binary packages, and particularly commercial software packages for which you just don't get the source code.

But isn't there a compatibility tool for FreeBSD, that makes it possible to run Linux binaries? I think I read about something like that, some day...

gargamel
 
Old 06-09-2004, 06:59 PM   #10
gargamel
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Quote:
Originally posted by chort
It seems this discussion would be more appropriate in the BSD forum.

By the way, to disspell a misconception, FreeBSD is "cutting edge". It has two development trees, much like the Linux 2.4 and 2.6 kernel branches (although with all BSDs, they develop a full operating system, not just a kernel). FreeBSD 5.x is the current development branch, 4.x is the stable branch.

Oh, the other assertion that it's more difficult to setup a firewall on BSD than Linux is absurd. All of the packet filters available for BSD use natural language rules (things like "pass in on fxp0 from any to (fxp0) port http flags S/SA keep state"). This is in stark contrast to Linux where you need to specify bizzare command line flag syntax.
Regarding firewalls you are right. But I didn't actually want to say that it is easier to set up a firewall in Linux; instead I was going to say that it is easier to build one, which includes so-called appliances. In fact I referred (not only) to hardware, but didn't say so, so sorry for the confusion.

Regarding routers: I don't know the current state of FB, here, but this really used to be a Linux domain. But no doubt, that BSD has routing capabilities, too.

So sorry for being a bit un-specific, thus causing some misunderstandings, and thanks for correcting me.

gargamel
 
Old 06-09-2004, 07:59 PM   #11
Nichole_knc
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As for Linux compat... My BSD box is... I have used Linux wares before on BSD and I have FTPed somethings from slack. I have installed a couple of rpms. This was prior to folding them all into one system. My term in Gnome on BSD is a linux term. Also several of my highend configs for slack come from my BSD boxes.
But yes most are build-it-yourself to really get all out of them. Same hold true for wares out there.

Being with BSD and now using slack has paid off for my addiction (computer power). That was one of the reasons for getting into linux and slack was choose due to its closeness to BSD.
BSD was a bit stubborn about clustering (a "cow" was easy) but linux makes even the extreme easy. (MPI, PVM)

But all in all if you like slack and want to experience more of the same BSD is the way to go.
But as was pointed out BSD is far stricter and less forgiving than Linux/slack.

Gawd ain't computin' fun!?
 
Old 06-09-2004, 09:40 PM   #12
mipia
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FreeBSD, in my humble opinion, is a wonderful OS. In fact it runs faster the slackware on my system (for some reason yet unknown). Even as a desktop OS...beautiful! Server? of course!
Something tells me that if it wasnt for the whole "AT&T, UNIX, BSD, lawsuit thing" back a few years ago, BSD would probably be where linux is right now (not flame-bait! thats the last thing I want to start).
Im building a new system right now and FreeBSD will be my operating system of choice when it is done. Of course I will keep my beloved slackware on this box, but between the ports system, lack of problems I have had, and how well it has worked in MY case, I would definatly give it a try.

AND DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take the online FreeBSD handbook for granted. It will usualy help with 99% of your problems (if any) when your starting out.

Thats my 2 cents

and oh yes, bsd has linux emulation. works great. has always ran everything I have wanted it to.

Last edited by mipia; 06-09-2004 at 09:42 PM.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 10:41 PM   #13
coffeedrinker
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I was a FreeBSD man before Slackware. Loved it but couldn't get pcmcia working on my new laptop. So had to move on to linux.

Never did well with various other distributions: Red Hat, Mandrake, etc.

But trying Slackware was like coming home to BSD
 
Old 06-09-2004, 11:59 PM   #14
_mu_
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I was thinking of putting FreeBSD on my laptop myself. The only thing that has stopped me from purchasing a copy is Im not sure whether FreeBSD has precompiled kernel pkg's like slack has. Im on dial-up so its a major pain waiting to download the source to compile a kernel. Can anyone tell me whether FreeBSD has precompiled kernel pkg's as slack does. Thanks.

Last edited by _mu_; 06-10-2004 at 12:00 AM.
 
Old 06-10-2004, 02:26 AM   #15
Nichole_knc
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Bad thing about BSD and laptops... Or any machine.... win-hardware.
I sported BSD as a second boot on my laptop for quite awhile and had to carry an ext modem...

Also BSD and Slack are well suited for "older" computers. I cannot speak of other linux distros heres.
But it would be reasonable to assume that since slack is so much like BSD that it to could run on almost any box...
I have in my wulf and continue to experiment with computers that cost me $15 total. mobo, processor, memory and network card. These boxes range from a P pro 200 on a acer mobo to this box here a Pii 450 on a asus p3V133.
I have a test hd with both slack and BSD installed with generic kernels to plug into mobos I get for $5 a pop. It is suprizing at how fast both these OSs run on these older systems. Windors 98 by comparison will bearly even boot and you can forget any level of stablity. Besides windows does not like the whole harddrive/mobo swap thingy...

Many of these "classified useless" machines by the general public have lots of life left in them.
For instance this box I am on. The mobo was in the junk pile and can use upto a Piii 766 secc and upto 1.5gb ram w/2xagp, the Pii 450 cost me $5, I bought 512meg of ram, a nvidia gforce 400, sound blaster pci 4.1 and power supply. the case came from a fortune 500 company dumpster and contained a pii 233mhz WORKING asus mobo. This box runs slack of course. It is faster than the 1ghz running XP pro.

These little boxes make for great fun and experimentation. Cheap, lots of them and if you kill one nothing lost. Overclocking has never been so fun....
 
  


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